Thank you Dawn Thomsen!

It is with regret that we announce the resignation of Dawn Thomsen, who has served as our Director of Development since 2015.  Dawn has expertly steered the stewardship and management of the FMC Endowment Fund to record levels. In addition, she guided the FMC Committee into developing policies on gift acceptance, donations and estate planning.  She moved forward with providing on-site credit card processing for FMC donations, and State Conference/Summer Dialogue registrations. We will miss her professional expertise and personal friendship.

Welcome Molly Brandt!

Effective September 1, ACDA-MN welcomes the leadership of Molly Brandt, who will serve as our new Director of Development.  Having received a music business degree from Drake University, and who subsequently established an impressive professional career resume in the Des Moines IA area, we look forward to her spirited and dedicated leadership in cultivating current and future donors to the FMC Endowment Fund in the years to come.

New Spending Policy for FMC Endowment Fund

The ACDA-MN Board of Directors along with the FMC Endowment Fund Committee have been working together to investigate ways in which the FMC Endowment Fund could make a more positive financial impact upon the ACDA-MN operating budget.  This initiative began with members of the 20/20 @ 2020 Task Force asking substantive questions about the financial connection between the two groups.

Historically when the FMC Endowment Fund was established in 1996, the goal of the new fund derived from proceeds of the 125th FMC Anniversary Concert, was to start a new scholarship program for graduate students in choral music and to partially support a new part-time staff position of Executive Secretary.  Over the ensuing years, the Committee held fast to a time-honored best practice of spending 5% of the principal fund balance each year, with 60% of those funds allocated to scholarship programs, and the remaining 40% earmarked to administrative support.

When the current full-time Executive Director position was created in 2009, the FMC Committee was already supporting an additional position…that of a new part-time Director of Development.  At the time and as leadership began to study the existing spending policy, it was determined that there were not enough dollars to support both staff positions. As a result, it was further determined that the Director of Development salary would be funded through the FMC Committee, while the support to the new Executive Director position would be transitioned solely to ACDA-MN.

In the past decade the FMC Endowment Fund, through strong donor support along with solid stock market gains, has re-positioned itself to be able to again support both staff positions with a slight revision of the existing spending policy.  The FMC Committee will now have some flexibility each year as they determine best practice in how to support the work of the Committee and ACDA-MN.

The revised policy for 2019-20 will feature a slightly increased 5.35% draw of the Principal Fund Balance, and a 54% allocation to the scholarship program, with a 46% allocation to administer the program (including new salary support for the ACDA-MN Executive Director), thereby offering some overall relief to the ACDA-MN general operating budget.

Only through the continued support of hundreds of annual donors to the FMC Endowment Fund, has this revised spending policy been possible.  Now for the first time in a decade, contributions to the FMC Endowment Fund will directly support the FMC scholarship program, FMC administrative expenses, and partially fund the salary of the ACDA-MN Executive Director position.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the FMC Endowment Fund and ACDA of Minnesota!

Summer Dialogue Giving

Within a 24 hour period, ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue registrants responded to an FMC Committee “two-for-one” giving challenge.  For every dollar donated during the week, two dollars would be added from members of the FMC Endowment Fund Committee. A record amount of committee pledges and actual on-site donations resulted in over $13,000 received.

In addition, a record 74% of Summer Dialogue registrants donated!

One of the fun sidebars of the annual FMC giving program culminated in a special event organized by ACDA-MN Tesfa Wondemagegnehu who hosted a Friday evening BBQ picnic with the sole purpose of attendees donating to the FMC Endowment Fund.  $480 was raised for the fund from these hungry folks! Thanks Tesfa and ACDA-MN gang members for your amazing support!

Summer Dialogue Scholarships

Eight scholarships were awarded to the following individuals to attend the 2019 Summer Dialogue conference at St. Olaf College, August 6-9:

Kennedy Niska
2019 graduate of Concordia College
new teaching position with Crosby Ironton Public Schools

Nathan Thelen
2017 graduate of Concordia College
current conductor Staples-Motley Public Schools

Matt Kiminski
2019 graduate of St. John’s University
new teaching position with Melrose Public Schools

Leah Mockenhaupt
2016 graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
new teaching position at Sartell Middle School

Vinay Thomas
2019 graduate of University of Texas-Austin
current graduate student at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Dylan Sauder
2019 graduate of University of Northwestern-St. Paul
new teaching position with HERO Homeschool Co-op in Forest Lake

Kyung Ko
2018 doctoral graduate from University of Nebraska-Lincoln
current director of Caritas, and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Circle Pines

Peter Fourniea
2011 graduate of St. John’s University
current director at Lourdes High School, Rochester

Summer Dialogue Student Conductor Scholarships

Nine student conductors from collegiate and university institutions throughout Minnesota were welcomed to Summer Dialogue to participate in the 9th Annual Student Conductor Workshop.  Students prepared to conduct a selected piece within the Tried and True Reading Booklet, originally selected by our R&R Chairs. As they prepared for the public reading session, students were led in a one-on-one conducting clinic with veteran St. Olaf choral conductor Sigrid Johnson.

Welcome and thanks to these amazing student leaders…ACDA-MN’s future!

Adam Giebner, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Richard Robbins, advisor

Rachel Hickman, University of St. Thomas
Angela Broeker, advisor

Colt Lien, Concordia College-Moorhead
Michael Culloton, advisor

Rebecca Tutewohl, Concordia University-St. Paul
David Mennicke, advisor

Emily Moser, Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Erynn Millard, advisor

Bethany Wollman, North Central University
Larry Bach, advisor

Michael McKenzie, Gustavus Adolphus College
Brandon Dean, advisor

Aaron Musser, St. Olaf College
Anton Armstrong and Therees Hibbard, advisors

Kelly Heinonen, Concordia College-Moorhead
Michael Culloton, advisor


An anonymous donor has challenged ACDA-MN members with a dollar-for-dollar giving match for year-end donations received this November and December, including Give to the Max Day scheduled for Thursday, November 14.  Stay tuned for more exciting details regarding this generous offer!